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Major Nelson talks microtransations on G4

Major Nelson was featured on Attack of the Show last night. During "The Loop," Major Nelson discussed microtransactions with Kevin Pereira and Andrew Pfister, producer of 1UP Yours. The segment was too short, which is regrettable because it was actually very good. In fact, we'd love to see "The Loop" made into its own show. Naturally, Lumines was brought up. It was declared dishonest by Andrew, whereas Major Nelson reminded the audience that "it's about choice." They also briefly touched on EA's recent Godfather scandal. If you haven't heard, EA is charging 360 users for cheats. What's scary is that the cheats you can buy on Marketplace are available as cheat codes in the Xbox version. In other words EA actually removed the cheat codes from the 360 version just so they could make consumers pay for them. Unfortunately, the commentators just aren't given enough time to properly debate the issue. Here's hoping G4 sees the potential in this segment and gives "The Loop" some more air time. Watch the video after the break.

[Via The Xbox Domain]

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(Page 1)

1. At least that shows that Major Nelson and the Xbox team is equally concerned about it as we are. They just provided the tools for it, its up to the developers to use it and its apparent some developers are abusing those tools. Remember that Microsoft isn't in control of what goes on the marketplace, they just provide the server and the tools. Also, this isn't a problem for just the Xbox 360, but its apparent that its also going to affect the PS3 as well with the "Pay for cars in GTHD" thing. At least Major is showing their trying to talk to the developers to see why their charging so much for it, and whatnot.

Also, he's right, if you don't want it, don't buy it. You have a choice, its not like EA or Q Entertainment is forcing you to buy their content. So DON'T but it and that might change their minds to lower the price, make it free, and whatnot. Don't do what people tend to LOVE to do in blogs or even Major's site, which is go around and complaining about it constantly. Believe me, there's WAY too many complainers on Major's site, as well as even some trolls that like to show up (which is why Major is being more skeptical about anonymous posting).

Posted at 1:19PM on Oct 26th 2006 by DA360 2 stars

2. When you think about games published under the MGS label, and what kind of content and price levels are available for them, you see that Microsoft's approach is rather more conservative than some of the 3rd parties.

Kameo has the two 200 point skin packs, the new free skin pack, the free to gold members co-op pack, and the 400 point expert, time attack, and rune battle "power pack."

PDZ has four DM maps for 500 points, and added a bot pack via an auto-update (which they might well have put in the marketplace for free, I would think).

PGR3 has either individual cars for 60 points (with two free single cars one from the speed and one from the style pack) or the packs for 400 points (11 pay cars), and the three free cars in the cadillac pack.

You could complain about the rape prices for gamerpics and themes, but I think we're all pretty well aware of that at this point, and avoid them (at least, unless you check them out online first).

Compared with the 3rd parties, it's a whole different strategy.

Posted at 1:38PM on Oct 26th 2006 by J.Goodwin 0 stars

3. I was surprised, that was actually a pretty good (mini) debate.

I like that MS is still experimenting with XBLM... but please MS, experiment by adding new stuff to games NOT taking away stuff that used to be free only to sell it back to us.

Admit it or not, MS is in charge with XBLM. MS should enforce that products add to the gaming experience... or not be allowed for sale. Rip-offs are only going to make MS look bad.

For the most part, MS is doing a good job... and I respect what they are up against. Just bring the focus a little more towards gamers and fun, and a little less from maximizing profits.

Posted at 1:43PM on Oct 26th 2006 by jc 8 stars

4. Though I thought the interview was too short some the the REALLY tough questions were asked. I still think that M.N. beat around the bush with his "It's all about choice of the player" comment. Yes, THIS is true but something has to be done to protect the gamers who support XBLA. With that said MS needs to take a more aggresive stance on companies who try and take advantage of their customers!! (EA the WHORE MASTERS) just to mention. An if you are like me and bought Lumines day one, you DO feel ripped off. MS did not make it clear that for a WOPPING 1200 MS Points you would get an incomplete game, that is not a good business practice to say the least and mind you I have been a HUGE supporter of XBLA!!

Posted at 1:47PM on Oct 26th 2006 by Mr BoomStick XL 0 stars

5. Enforcing "choice" by not buying the crippled content will be the best for everyone.

I desperately want to play Lumines Live, but from all the bad press, I'm not going to touch it until a complete game is provided for a decent price. There should at least be a discount for downloading "the whole enchilada" instead of the parts!

The big rip-off in the end is that we subconsciously think that the lack of physical media should make the content cheaper. However, server maintenance, paying for consistent bandwidth, and marketing still take money.

Either way, it's getting hard to see where this whole ordeal will leave us at the middle of this generation of gaming.

Off the wall note: if Nintendo can back a controller specifically for retro gaming...why can't Microsoft make one with a good d-pad? It'd be easy justifiable money for them...

Posted at 3:20PM on Oct 26th 2006 by SuicideNinja 0 stars

6. What about people like me who followed the news about lumines up to its release and still got screwed? I read the initial pre-release stories about how lumines would nickel and dime people to death, but then the developer (or maybe it was MS) said that that wasn't the case and that it would be the full game on xbox live arcade. Well, I downloaded that sucker the second it was available because I was so excited only to find out after the purchase that it wasn't the full game.

Major can say whatever he wants about "choice", but the fact is: if choice makes MS look bad (whether the choice was their decision or not) it's bad for MS.

Posted at 4:25PM on Oct 26th 2006 by Luke 0 stars

7. I think Bizarre and PGR3 have done a reasonable job with microtrans. Put out a complete game to begin with. Then add to the infrastructure with desired add ons and make them reasonable. Want a new car pack or just a new car, both are reasonably offered.

The evil is in the limitless $$$$ developers see in microtrans. By taking out questionably necessary content (i.e. the things that make it more than just playable, but complete) they can charge a premium on each unit. This turns their profit from 6 or 7 dollar per unit sold, to 12 to 15 dollars per unit sold or more.

Trust me, developer houses are staffed by gamers and the fights over content left out are vicious. However, these same houses are now owned by greedy bastards, who feel the pinch (small pinch) from game resales, rentals, and subsrciption services, and they no longer care about gamer loyalty.

Speak with your dollars. Any incomplete game...BOYCOTT it!!

Posted at 6:41PM on Oct 26th 2006 by flancyboy 0 stars

8. It's all about choice, right?
Ok, I choose PS3.

Posted at 6:42PM on Oct 26th 2006 by I\'m not registering MN 0 stars

9. The "vote with your wallets" thing works if the "additional $ content" is clear.

Cheat codes cost $ but only on the $60 xbox 360 version, not the $30 PS2 version? How was I to know that? Godfather has been out for a good while and only a few days ago did this "purchasable" content appear. Prior to that, it was just "strange" that cheats didn't work and "occasionally" I'd get a weird error when trying to buy some types of weapons or henchmen within the game.

Lumines, again, was not transparent about what you were getting in the "full version". If the "full $ menu" was on display, I wouldn't have bought. Heck the official schedule and cost for Lumines still has not been released.

I'm now an EA hater and Q Entertainment has a mark against it as well. And shame on Microsoft for not catching these items brokered through their marketplace.

Posted at 10:55PM on Oct 26th 2006 by xboxer 0 stars

10. I'm fine with microtransactions as a whole, because as Major said, it's all about choice. But I do have a problem with it when it becomes slightly dishonest. Take the Lumines example: you were only able to play the 'trial' game, which then made it seem as if unlocking the full game gave you everything bar some new skins. It wasn't until gamers had already paid that 1200 points that the truth became clear. And as we know, there are no refunds.

Yes, now everyone knows to stay away from Lumines Live, but it's too late for those of us who have already purchased the content. I even purchased the advance pack under the assumption that would complete the game. I had no idea that the rest of the content would cost more and come next year. It was the dishonesty of the whole situation that pissed me off. It's like Q knew that no one was going to pay 1200 points for the base pack, so they were dishonest about it. Consequently, they've lost me as a customer. A shame, too.

I know one person won't matter, but if they piss off enough people, they'll be in trouble. At the end of the day all we're asking for is honesty. If you're upfront about your product, we can't say we were cheated when we purchase it.

Posted at 11:27PM on Oct 26th 2006 by Donutta 0 stars

11. I dont think this is all MSFT fault.
In my own opinion, we all should blame the bastards at EA because they the one who started this debate. And I dont think its fair is the Xbox 360 gamers need to pay more money just to get extra content. But people who are using other platforms such as PS2 or computer dont need to pay more money for xtras. Ans i think that Kevin Pereira is right. If the games are sold for a high price, downloadable contents dont have to be paid. Whereas games with low prices can charge gamers to pay money for xtra contents.

And lastly, I do hope that MSFT people can can solve this fcking problem fastly.

Posted at 5:20AM on Oct 27th 2006 by stranger 0 stars

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